US Rep. John Tierney said yesterday that President Obama's plan for US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was too slow and called on Obama to accelerate his timeline for bringing American forces home.
"It is time to develop and implement a more aggressive plan to redeploy our service members and contractors out of Afghanistan," Tierney said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Obama announced that 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by the end of the year, followed by 33,000 by next summer. The president said troop reductions would continue at a steady pace after that with most American forces out of Afghanistan by 2014.
"Tonight we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding," Obama said. "Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm's way."
Tierney, a Salem Democrat, criticized the plan as sluggish and said it was possible to both bring larger numbers of troops home sooner, and retain America's ability to react to hostilities.
"A much more accelerated redeployment than was announced last night can still ensure that we transition in an orderly and safe manner and retain the ability to act with special forces and aircraft to ensure that any threats to our national security are dealt with forcefully and quickly," Tierney said.
The congressman said the pervasive corruption in the Afghan government coupled with the distrust Afghans have for their leaders in Kabul, was undercutting the effectiveness of the current allied counterinsurgency strategy. In addition, Tieney said with al Qaeda in disarray and mounting domestic problems here at home, it was all the more reason to speed up the timetable.
"I will continue to urge that we bring our forces home and use the financial resources such action would free up to address our pressing needs here," Tierney said. "Our national security depends on strengthening our economy and being economically competitive in the world."
Stewart Bishop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org